Pass the Pork Rinds and Catfish, I am not a Fussy Eater

Fussy Eater: Pork Rinds and Smoky Catfish Dip

While I’d never say a good word about the pandemic there is a side effect of our global tragedy that I’ve come to notice. During these past two years I haven’t had to worry about feeding the fussy. Though it’s true, once the vaccine was available and my personal attitudes about “lockdown” became more liberal, we did dine at home occasionally with a vegetarian. However, when dining with just three people it’s fun to build a menu around the fussiest eater at the table. The vegetarian. 

Fortunately I am not a fussy eater. 

However, I won’t eat brains, testicles, or house pets. Further, I won’t be coaxed into consuming food on a dare. Never trust a cook who taunts you into eating their cooking. I have moral objections to endangered species, chickens raised in cages, and anything harvested from cleared rain forests. I don’t really like watermelon, McDonald’s, or food prepared by or for children. These last three things, however, I will eat if only to be polite. Proving I’m not a fussy eater.

I’ve always thought that my status as an unfussy eater made me the ideal dinner party guest. I’ve already proven my compatibility with vegetarians, but I’ll also happily eat Kosher, Halal, or Presbyterian. Sit me down at any dinner party and watch me clean my plate. Except of course if the chef is prepubescent. But we’ve already discussed that.

Omnivore, Carnivore, Pollotarian, Pescetarian, Flexitarian, Paleo, Raw, Macrobiotic, Vegetarian, Vegan…

Unfussy is not a term I’d use to describe most folks. Most of us are fussy eaters. We just refuse to acknowledge it. Of course I am the exception. I am not a fussy eater.

But I know many people who are. In fact, I can recall a pre-pandemic dinner party for eight close friends. Their accumulated restrictions included idiosyncrasies from across the board. Diets, conspiracy theories, and phobias about food are hard for an unfussy eater like me to comprehend. But, of course, I can forgive allergies and religious restrictions. I told you I’m not fussy.

The easy answer is to change friends and find eaters with absolutely no firmly held convictions or any interest in the environment (or even their own health). I could do that. Or I could wait until a pandemic strikes and find that I suddenly miss all my fussy eaters – desperately. Let’s beat this virus. Once and for all. GREG

PS As we all begin to feel better about dining with friends and family this holiday season I thought I make something that appealed to everyone. But what would that be? It can’t have meat, or carbs, or sugar. It can’t be fried. Gluten is out. It would need to be wheat-free, nut-free, fish-free. Hell, it can’t even include garlic! So I gave up. Pass the Pork Rinds and Smoky Catfish Dip, please.

Broiled Catfish
Pork Rinds and Smoky Catfish Dip

Pork Rinds and Smoky Catfish Dip 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 36Source Adapted by Elizabeth Heiskell from The Crown RestaurantPublished

This award winning dip was made famous by The Crown Restaurant in Indianola, Mississippi.

Fussy Eater: Pork Rinds and Smoky Catfish Dip


  • 5 (8‑oz) skinless catfish fillets
  • 12 ounce softened cream cheese (about 1 ½ packages Philadelphia brand)
  • 2 teaspoon Creole seasoning (such as Tony Cachere’s)
  • ¼ teaspoon hickory liquid smoke
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce (or more to taste, such as Tabasco)
  • smoked paprika (to taste, optional)
  • pork rinds (for serving)


Preheat the oven broiler with the oven rack 3 inches from the heat. Place the catfish on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil; broil until the fish is browned and flakes with a fork, about 6 to 7 minutes. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Use a fork to flake apart.

Beat the cream cheese, Creole seasoning, liquid smoke and hot sauce together with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add the catfish; beat at low speed just until the fish is incorporated, but leave the catfish in small pieces for texture. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly dust the pork rinds with smoked paprika (if using). Serve the chilled dip with the pork rinds.